Acknowledging Fears

When I first found out I was pregnant this 2nd time, I briefly considered an unassisted birth - and then some fears surfaced - many from my husband, but some from myself as well.

Going into my first birth experience, my biggest fear was the risks from an epidural and the temptation and pressure of getting one anyway - so I chose a home birth.  It had nothing to do with an empowering spiritual event - it was a choice to avoid the unecessaries and have the best chance at a natural birth.  Aside from that, I was scared of the pain, but the fear of unecessary interventions far exceeded the short amount of pain I would experience.  When I hit transition (not knowing I was there at the time - just thinking it was active labor), I got a little worried thinking "Oh my gosh - this is just going to keep getting worse" and it never did.  I had a beautiful birth - the one I planned for - but for this birth, I am looking for even more... for a biological birth experience.

Going into this birth, my biggest fear is unecessary intervention - once again.  Only this time, it isn't the typical "intervention" you think about.  Not the heplock, the EFM, the vaginal exams, or the time limits... no, not that.  But the watching, the kind suggestions for positions, and the attendant's need to "do something" when there is nothing to be done but labor and birth a baby.  These fears have mostly been taken care of... I've selected a birth team who fits with my birth philosophy.  A team I've communicated with so that they know my wishes - and they also understand my wishes (not simply just complying - but believing in them).  A birth team who is perfectly capable of sitting in a corner watching me moan, move, sweat, and biologically birth.  And a birth team who is also perfectly capable of telling my husband ways he can help, letting him take care of Bell, reminding  me to stay hydrated, reminding me to urinate, putting cold wash cloths on my head, and providing emotional and physical support whenever I need it should this birth doesn't go as perfectly planned.

  • Best Choice for Birth Environment - Check
  • Best Choice for Birth Team - Check

So, it would seem as if all my fears are taken care of, right?  Wrong.  I still have fears that simply require positive thinking and faith.  It is very important to acknowledge all of your fears so that you may deal with them, get help for them, move past them, or accept them.

My biggest fear is something going wrong and having a birth experience completely opposite of what I'm planning.  I expect changes, bumps, and turns.  I know things happen - I know nothing is perfect - I know birth is safe, but that doesn't mean nothing ever goes wrong.  I respect birth for the normal bodily event that it is and do not feal I need medical attention to get through the normal process.  Just like with any normal bodily process, rare things sometimes occur that require assistance - and I respect that as well.  But, because I have so little fear of pain and birth - so little fear of the actual process - and because I talk about all the normal biological processes that occur... I fear some crazy rendition of kharma.  I fear a lesson from God, essentially...  I've had a lot of those over the years and have learned much from them.  Nonesense?  A little bit - but a fear nonetheless.  But it is this reason that I chose the birth team that I have in line.  I want a birth team who loves to support biological birth experiences, and who is also more than capable of watching over me - who knows when transport is necessary, and who can still continue that high quality of support should an emergency happen.

Some fears, for many women, will just not disappear.  There is no trickery, no education, no mantra, no book, no method that can take all the fears away for some women - and that is OK.  It is OK to have fear.  Fear is a normal process in life, and has a very valid purpose.  Sometimes we make better choices because of fear.  Sometimes we are more cautious and preserve our bodies better because of fear.  As non-fearing humans, we would make many decisions that would otherwise harm ourselves or others.  Fear is in the background of morals, values, beliefs, and everyday choices.  What you choose to do with those fears is the real issue.

You can choose to only dwell on those fears - increasing the feeling to an unecessary state.  You can choose to avoid or hide those fears, causing them to resurface at inopportune moments (like during birth).  Or, you can choose to acknowledge those fears and work through them as much as possible and make choices that best accommodate those fears.

If you fear interventions, what would cause those interventions to go away?  If you fear pain, what techniques can you use to minimize and/or eliminate your pain?  If you fear a cesarean, who can help you avoid that situation?  If you fear a posterior baby, what positions can you utilize that will help with moving your baby to a more LOA position?  If you fear negative environments, how can you create a positive situation?  Only you can answer this for yourself, because every woman and birth is different.

If you're interested how this birth went - read the Instinctual Birth Story here.